Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music Education (MME)



First Advisor

Mr. William L. Horton

Second Advisor

Mrs. Frances M. Scott

Third Advisor

Mr. David E. Scott


The problem of this study is to analyze a significant choral work of two modern composers to determine the compositional techniques and styles as they apply to textual and musical content. The works which are analyzed are Aaron Copland's In The Beginning, and Ralph Vaughan Williams' Sancta Civitas.

The biographical studies made on Copland and Vaughan Williams include: (1) their musical training; (2) influences which affected their compositional styles; (3) the different style-periods of their composing; and (4) the influence the two composers have made up on the musical growth in their countries -- Copland in America and Vaughan Williams in England.

As the two composers grew toward maturity, their styles and techniques of composition went through certain changes. Copland's music is divided into three distinctive styles: (1) jazz style-period; (2) abstract period; and (3) American folksong and Gebrauchsmusik. Vaughan Williams' style was not divided into definite style periods, but was a style of constant growth toward greater freedom and independence. Probably the strongest influencing factor of Vaughan Williams' melodic invention is the English folk-song.

In the Beginning, a mature work of Copland's is his first vocal work written for mixed chorus. Its text is taken from the Book of Genesis. This study reveals that the sales of this composition are quite good, which seems to indicate the popularity of the work.

Sancta Civitas is Vaughan Williams' only sacred oratorio. It is considered to be one of the composer's mature works. Its text is taken from the Book of Revelation. This text is typical of Vaughan Williams because of his preoccupation with symbolic religious subjects. This study reveals that the sales of Sancta Civitas are equal to the sales of other 'new' choral music.

Both composers, Aaron Copland and Ralph Vaughan Williams, have influenced the musical growth in America and England, not only with their musical compositions but through their organizational activities, music festivals, lectures, and teaching.



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